Like many people wondering how to get into ketosis fast, you might be surprised to learn there is no one straightforward way. It varies from person to person, and even from time to time. However, don’t let that put you off.
Eating a very low-carb diet is central to achieving ketosis, but it isn’t the only factor to consider.
Minimizing carbohydrate intake: consuming healthy fats like MCT oil, increasing physical activity to encourage additional ketone production, and intermittent or fat fasting can all contribute to achieving nutritional ketosis with ease.
Honestly, getting into ketosis doesn't have to be a chore, and we promise to explain how to get there while keeping up with the demands of everyday life, with the help of a few carefully applied suggestions that we’ll detail below.
Where some people can bounce into ketosis naturally within hours, others take months.
What we will show you today are methods that can work for everyone, and are scientifically founded to help you restore your metabolism and react appropriately to ketosis.
Plus, there are tons of delicious and nutritious ways to get into ketosis, which means you have tons of options to find out what works best for you.
From eating fewer carbs to exercising more intensely, merely eating more healthy fats like guac, or going on a fast, the sky's the limit.
Many people view ketosis as this big mountain they have to scale, when in fact, it’s a walk in the park. Enjoy the view, see the sights.
Understand what ketosis means about your quality of life, and change how you view getting into ketosis to alter your experience.
Once you do, we’re confident ketosis will become like waking up from a nice, long nap.
In this article, we’ll look how you can get into ketosis quickly, easily, and with as little effort as possible.
We’ll be sharing with you a straightforward hack at the end that can make it happen in minutes or hours (this is our secret game-changer).
Among their many benefits, the ketogenic diet and metabolic ketosis are credited with blood sugar regulation, rapid and sustainable fat loss, and healthy neurological development and function—a lifestyle and metabolic state that can vastly improve quality of life.
Feel free to use our proven tips and actionable steps to help you breeze through your first week on keto, so you can get to all the fun stuff about ketosis that you keep hearing about.
OK, let’s take a look at ketosis and see what’s going on in your metabolism, to understand what changes you need to make.
Once you learn more about ketosis and your body, we think it will empower you to make positive and long-lasting lifestyle changes.
If you’ve heard about the keto diet then what you’re hearing are the benefits of being in ketosis. This fat-burning state is a metabolic response to limiting carbs and increasing the good, healthy fats in your diet.
Ketosis boasts all kinds of incredible health benefits including mental sharpness, reduced pain, and inflammation, and has also been prescribed as a medical diet for people who suffer from many diseases, such as epilepsy and Alzheimer’s (1).
In more recent years, it’s been touted as a way to get rid of unwanted fat quickly - especially those lumps and baby bumps.
When you’re in ketosis, your body is switching from sugar and carbs to fat for fuel. It’s quickly burning stored, stubborn fat and melting it off your body. Your body naturally wants to use fat, but if you feed it sugar, it will always take the "easy way out.”
This is why most people will never experience ketosis. Our current dietary system sucks, and the information given to kids in schools is to eat highly inflammatory grains and sugars.
They’re taught from a young age to eat foods that trigger all kinds of insensitivity and problems.
To lose body fat on a Standard American Diet, you need to burn through all these sugar and carbs to get to the fat.
In ketosis, you’re already there. Your body has no sugar and carbs (glycogen) and instead has to go straight to the reserves.
And what’s more, you feel energized and excited by this change. Your body is invigorated and freed from the shackles of a grain-based diet.
The Basics of Ketosis
You may want to achieve ketosis for the weight loss benefits, increased mental sharpness, and to regulate or mitigate symptoms of many diseases (e.g., autism, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s and certain types of cancer, et al.), but what is ketosis?
Essentially, ketosis is a state where the body converts from reliance on glucose-based fuel to running primarily on fat-based fuel through a fascinating process called ketogenesis—where fat is metabolized to produce ketones that the body can use as a form of sustainable energy.
Since inducing ketosis may require more carb restriction for some than others, with some only able to eat less than 20g of net carbs and others eat twice as much with equal success, it is advisable to use 20g as the standard net carb limit each day to maintain ketosis.
Ketosis and living a fat-adapted lifestyle may appear to be a trend to some, but it is our natural state of being. Did you know that newborns and exclusively breastfed babies are naturally in ketosis?
As newborns, our bodies instinctually access fat stores for fuel and produce more ketone bodies to maintain a fat-adapted state of metabolic ketosis—to keep blood ketone levels within a target range of 0.5–3.0 mmol/L.
The fact that we are born in a state of ketosis is a point worth further consideration.
If we are born in a state of metabolic ketosis, and ketosis is naturally maintained by babies who are exclusively breastfed—fed our most natural and ideal first source of food—ketosis seems like a formidable cornerstone of human life, or at the very least a topic worthy of more in-depth examination.
Just consider this, ketones provide up to 30% of the energy needed to foster healthy fetal brain development!
Such a significant contribution to healthy brain development and function appears to assert the essential nature of ketones and ketosis further.
Also, it is important to remember that colostrum (a.k.a, first milk) and breast milk promote ketosis—slated to boost immunity and support a fat-adapted state, respectively—a sequential process that further suggests the fundamental importance of ketones and ketosis in our healthy development and performance.
Also, the composition of breast milk is telling: it’s high in fat (55%), moderate in carbs (39%), and low in protein (6%)—a possible nod from nature regarding the best primary fuel source for humans—fat.
While carbs are considerably lower on a ketogenic diet, usually making up about 5% of ones’ macronutrient target and protein closer to 15%, it is still clear that fat is the body’s preferred fuel source.
Ketosis and Therapeutic Ketogenic Diets
The ketogenic diet has been used since the 1920s and is hailed in many medical circles as an ideal diet for those with epilepsy because a significant reduction in carb intake, and subsequent increased ketone levels, have been shown to mitigate the debilitating symptoms of the neurological seizure disorder.
Since its inception, the ketogenic diet has shown itself to be a powerful tool to manage glucose, prevent certain types of cancer, promote healthy heart function, support brain and neurological function in those with autism, and is also now on the lips of many in the health community for its benefits related to weight loss.
Just in respect of due diligence, it's particularly important to consult a doctor if using the ketogenic diet as a tool to remediate chronic disease (e.g., Type 2 diabetes [T2D], epilepsy, etc.) to ensure you approach the diet safely and achieve the many benefits of ketosis.
Health Benefits of Ketosis
The chances are that if you eat a Western diet, your body currently runs on glucose (i.e., sugar).
Sugar does provide a fast-acting form of energy, but that energy is equally temperamental and fleeting, creating drastic spikes and dips in blood sugar which can negatively impact mood, energy levels, and weight-loss progress.
However, something unusual happens when we eat a diet deficient in carbs: our bodies’ release the glycogen stored in the liver and muscles, which causes a decline in insulin that the body would otherwise use as fuel.
Once our sugar-based energy source is depleted, the body will release fatty acids that it converts to the ketones: acetone, acetoacetate, and beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB).
These act as a common fat-based fuel source to support brain and physical function during the conversion that occurs during ketogenesis—the process of the body switching from sugar to fat-based fuel.
We will outline the process of inducing ketosis in a bit, but an understanding of how ketosis benefits the body on many fronts is worth reviewing to get a handle on its profound value:
The ketogenic diet has garnered a lot of attention lately for its ability to expedite fat loss and regulate fat cell production to prevent obesity.
In the area of fat loss, as it relates to ketosis, there are two schools of thought:
- The ketogenic diet provides a metabolic advantage by its very nature as it causes an increase in appetite-suppressing hormones like leptin and ghrelin.
- The ketogenic diet acts as a hunger suppressant, causing us to eat less because the high-fat foods consumed are very satiating, but the diet provides no natural boost in fat loss.
Health gatekeepers have long committed to the idea that a reduction in calorie consumption and increased physical activity is the key to weight loss, without much thought given to macronutrient composition.
In this school of thought, a calorie is a calorie. This school of thought would claim that 100 calories ingested from an apple and those from chips would have the same effect on the metabolism and fat loss—but this couldn't be farther from the truth.
Macronutrients, and more importantly how your daily macro targets are structured, do matter.
For instance, the nutrients and fat-burning effects of an avocado—a nutrient-dense whole food that provides an excellent composition of fat, carbs, fiber, and protein—will always facilitate fat loss better than an equivalent caloric serving of potato chips.
The role of ketones (bodies which are naturally elevated when in ketosis) in weight loss is to regulate our bodies’ use of fat as energy and enhance our ability to utilize fat without storing it on the body in excess.
Ketones are your secret weapon to super-charge your weight loss or muscle gain efforts and a benefit we’re gifted when in ketosis.
Along with eating a very low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet (VLCKD), the presence of increased ketone bodies, be it endogenous and made by the body or exogenous and supplemented, is also an excellent tool to regulate glucose and create stable blood sugar levels in the body.
Blood sugar regulation is vital because when the processing and utilization of glucose malfunctions, insulin resistance will likely follow.
Also, the inability to process and use insulin is the primary underlying cause of type 2 diabetes (T2D)—a pathological condition which can lead to devastating outcomes like amputations and blindness, among other health issues.
Insulin resistance causes excessive amounts of fat to accumulate in the liver, unlike when the body effectively processes insulin and oxidizes it into energy, which is then used within our skeletal muscle.
The increased conversion of carbohydrates in the body to fat that occurs as a result of insulin resistance promotes an elevated release of saturated fat into the body. Mitigating this excess-fat release into ones’ circulation is vital to prevent an increased risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Fortunately, dietary modifications where carbs are restricted and healthy fats increased can drastically prevent insulin resistance and its associated ailments.
Some may even stabilize their glucose enough with the ketogenic diet so that they no longer require medications—simply amazing especially considering the impact medications may have on the liver and kidneys long-term!
Healthy Heart Function
Diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease often manifest together.
It is common for one with type 2 diabetes also to have an issue with their heart health and regulating blood pressure—quite prevalent comorbidities.
Also, evidence continues to mount in support of the ketogenic diet because of its health benefits related to improving blood lipid profiles, improving blood triglyceride levels, and improving overall cholesterol levels.
Additionally, 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl–CoA reductase (the target for statins) is an essential enzyme in cholesterol biosynthesis activated by insulin.
Here’s what that means and why it matters: if your diet is full of high-carb foods that spike insulin and increase glucose levels in the body at the onset of your transition, which in turn raises insulin levels and also hinders the body’s ability to synthesize cholesterol effectively, it may lead to imbalances within the body.
Epilepsy, Autism, Alzheimer’s and Dementia (Neurological Health):
Although the ketogenic diet is advised because of its health and weight management benefits, the first acclaim around the ketogenic diet is tied to its powerful ability to support healthy neurological function and stave off some of the devastating and debilitating effects of disorders, like epilepsy and autism.
Despite becoming famous for its efficacy in promoting fat loss in the 1970s, the benefits related to neurological development and health was the initial inspiration for the ketogenic diet.
Doctors found that a drastic reduction of carbs in the body had a significant effect on mitigating or eliminating symptoms of various neurological disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
The ketogenic diet, initially constructed to treat children with severe forms of epilepsy, is still considered a viable food-based treatment option for those suffering from that and other neurological disorders.
However, the influx of pharmaceutical options, driven by a 750-billion-dollar-a-year machine, diverted attention from food as medicine in place of profit-driven pharmaceutical interventions, as we approached the 21st century.
Despite shifts in culture, it is still important to mention that the profit-driven cultural shift toward anticonvulsant drugs to mitigate symptoms of neurological disorders is in no way reflective of the efficacy. Current relevance of the ketogenic diet proves to be a powerful, naturopathic tool one can use to suppress or lessen the potency of epileptic seizures.
Although adhering to a very low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet can pose challenges as achieving a state of metabolic ketosis requires a well-crafted plan and a level of discipline that can prove challenging, especially for children, the neuroprotective benefits are worth the effort.
In addition to supporting the healthy function of neurological pathways in the brain and reducing overactivity that may trigger seizures, the increased ketone bodies present when in ketosis naturally have an anticonvulsant effect—a fantastic added benefit for those with a seizure disorder.
The ketogenic diet has also proven itself to be a viable lifestyle with therapeutic benefits for individuals with autism, sleep disorders and other forms of neurotrauma (brain injury).
Although autism, epilepsy and many disorders the keto diet is thought to assist are different in their exact nature, their common denominator is that neurological inflammation exacerbates them and elevated ketones calm them.
This is vital. The neuroprotective effects of keto which reduce neuronal excitability, and the anticonvulsant properties of increased ketone bodies in the system when in ketosis contribute to the improved neurofunction within the brain to minimize effects of neurological breakdowns present in those with a neurodegenerative disorder.
Knowledge about the benefits of the ketogenic diet for those with autism is still emerging and mostly speculative. However, it's worth consideration based on emerging data alone.
Alzheimer’s and Dementia
Like most neurological disorders, Alzheimer’s is the result of neuronal malfunction, a misfiring or inability to process information in the brain.
With enhanced neuronal excitability as a culprit contributing to issues in brain synapses, those who have Alzheimer's and dementia can also benefit from the neuroprotective effect of the increased ketone bodies present, when in a state of metabolic ketosis.
The neuroprotective effects of ketone bodies support healthy brain function, so transmitters in the brain work appropriately for optimal mental performance.
The idea that the ketogenic diet can improve one's quality of life while navigating the challenges of an otherwise debilitating and irreversible disease is incredibly hopeful for those living with neurodegenerative disorders.
What Does Ketosis Mean for You?
When you consume under 100 net gram carbs per day, working down to around 50 net gram carbs, depending on your metabolic strength, you'll start to go into ketosis naturally.
Many people say they have to eat under 20 net gram carbs, but this is variable. And in some cases, eating too few carbs can also stress your body.
The keto diet is never meant to be a low or no carb diet; you want to make sure you remove enough of the carbs to replace your caloric intake with healthy fats.
The benefits of ketosis include:
- Accelerated fat loss
- More lean muscle
- Better body composition overall
- More daily energy
- Clearer and more cognitive thinking
- Improved hormonal response
- Body healing
A larger man would be able to eat more carbs than a smaller woman because of the difference in energy demands and metabolic responses. Generally speaking, under 30 net gram carbs per day would put most people into ketosis.
If you’re not in ketosis and believe you’re eating fewer than 30 net gram carbs, you might be a candidate to try some of our methods below.
People who have eaten a high-carb diet for most of their lives, if not all, are prone to metabolic fatigue.
This is when your body fails to respond to diet and exercise in the expected ways. It says, “Nope! Not today.”
While frustrating, the good news is ketosis naturally corrects metabolic fatigue and can even help restore your fertility and hormonal responses (2).
Ketosis is how our ancestors survived most of the time. They ate a high-fat diet with long periods of intermittent fasting between meals.
Our bodies are incredibly efficient at storing fat, as you may know, but they can be equally good at burning it too.
So, let’s take a look at how to get into ketosis fast.
Why You’re Not Getting into Ketosis
First up, we have to face facts. If you’re not getting into ketosis and feel lethargic, or have keto flu, we have to do some troubleshooting.
Many people lean on ketone strips which detect ketones in urine when they first get into ketosis, but these can be unreliable.
For starters, when you first go into ketosis, your body isn’t efficient at using ketones for energy, so the body naturally expels them through urine.
This gives the impression that more ketones in the urine are equal to a higher state of ketosis.
This isn’t always true; fewer ketones in your urine can mean that your body is using those ketones to metabolize fat.
But this is only true if your blood sugar levels are low and you have ketones in your bloodstream. Otherwise, it’s just ketones blowing in the wind.
Secondly, after the first few weeks, urine strips reportedly stop working. If you’re here because you no longer get accurate readings, stop.
If you consistently eat under 30 net gram carbs per day and feel energized and are losing weight, you’re probably in ketosis.
What you’ve seen is the switch from ineffective to effective ketone use. Your body and brain are using those ketones for critical metabolic responses.
And, if it’s been about 3-4 weeks, you can probably place your bets that you are in ketosis. This is about how long it takes for you to get to this coveted place.
And possibly, and this is perhaps the most important, you’re not in ketosis because you don’t have enough ketone bodies.
Many people don't realize that is can take weeks or months to produce enough ketones to sustain yourself naturally.
Many people never make enough ketones. But don’t worry, we’ll show you soon how to fix this.
Once you see how easy it is to boost your ketones, you’ll see why so many people can get into ketosis in a few hours or days without having to deploy crazy tactics.
We’ll tell you how to eat more food and lose more weight when you use this trick - thank you, science!
This guide is for people who aren’t feeling the rush of ketosis and who want to get into that deep state to improve their wellness.
People who want to lose more weight, want to feel their very best and are ready to take action today.
Fail #1 - You’re Eating Too Many Carbs
It’s a harsh truth, but if you’re not in ketosis, you’re eating too many carbs.
Carbs can get the best of us, and if you don’t measure your food, read labels, and track all of your food items, it can be hard to know, accurately, if you’re under your net carbs.
If you eat out, this can be a big culprit as no one will ever make your food as lovingly as you will.
Another truth is that the number of carbs varies from person to person. If you and your partner have different results, it is a sign that you need to adjust your carb count.
You should continue to decrease in increments of 5 net gram carbs per day until you start to see the transitional symptoms of ketosis. These are urinating more often, improved energy, reduced hunger, and sharper thoughts.
There is a caveat for people who eat no or very low carbs (under 10g per day): for these people, we recommend adding in a few quality carbs into your diet.
A few blueberries or strawberries can give you a range of nutrients, and decent carbs that will promote ketosis. This is especially true for people who exercise a lot or who are naturally active.
Your body will always need some carbs, so take the time to listen to your body and see how many carbs work for you.
Fail #2 - You’re Not Eating Enough Fat
Next up, a common mistake when getting into ketosis is that you’re not eating enough fats. It’s not enough to lower your carbs; you have to eat more fat.
Fat replaces the fuel you would get from carbs and is necessary for all of your daily functions and health.
If you eat a low carb diet and don’t supplement with fats, sure, you can lose some weight, but you can break your metabolism.
What you’re mostly doing is starving your body and depriving it of fat; with no fat, you cannot make ketones, which power your brain.
Eating more fats is what makes ketosis possible. Your body turns those fat cells into ketones, which are like rocket fuel. Ketones are unique in that they can pass the brain barrier, and feed your brain with a special energy.
Ketones are also unique because the body never stores them.
So no matter how many MCT (medium-chain triglycerides) fats you eat, you will never store these as fat. This is one of the best kept fat-loss secrets, but we want to expose the science.
When you eat MCTs, you get an instant boost of energy. It doesn’t matter if you don’t use that energy, however. It will be expelled.
If you don’t use up all of the energy from your carbs, these will be stored as fat, so don’t let the name of fat fool you into thinking it will make you gain weight.
Let that be your lesson to eat more fat.
Fail #3 - You Are Overeating Protein
Finally, a ketogenic diet is a moderate protein diet. Many people replace their carbs with protein instead of fat. And many more people do not realize the standard diet is very high in protein already.
Protein is problematic because protein can be synthesized into glucose by the body. When you overeat protein, it’s like secretly eating carbs.
Your body will try to get carbs for the first few weeks or months of becoming fat-adapted, and will even make sugar. Talk about the lengths your body will go!
Overeating protein can kick you out of ketosis, or prevent you from even getting there in the first place.
Many people overestimate the size of a steak or burger. You can easily overdo it in one meal if you’re not sure of the correct proportions.
Instead of reaching for lean protein, you should indulge instead in fats. These can be nuts, nut butter, seeds, avocado, salmon, and other oily fishes like sardines, tuna, mackerel, and trout; these have the benefit of containing up to 30% oil when farmed sustainably and can prevent heart disease and lower cholesterol.
You can also look for quality meal replacements, like Keto MEAL, which has a high fat content and is made for a ketogenic diet.
Traditional protein shakes do not have the right MCTs or fat profiles to get you into ketosis and have far too many fillers, carbs, and protein.
Now that you know where the common pitfalls are, it’s time to learn how to get into ketosis fast.
How to Get into Ketosis Fast in 3 Easy Steps
In this next segment, we’ll reward your reading with a simple three-step guide on how to cheat the system and get into ketosis quickly.
What we love about these tips is that they avoid the need to spend hours in the gym and you don’t have to fast or stop eating your favorite foods.
What we are about to show you means you can eat more and get into ketosis faster. You read that right: you can eat more and get into ketosis faster.
Seems absurd, but if after a lifetime of following fad diets you’re ready to try something new, keep reading.
- In step 1, we’ll show you what we use to alleviate the symptoms of keto flu and get our body in the best possible position for accelerated ketosis.
- In step 2, we’ll tell you the science behind why when you eat - not what you eat - matters.
- And in step 3, you’ll learn what food will boost your ability to get into ketosis.
Not only is our plan highly useful for people joining the ketogenic diet, but it can be used as an excellent way for experienced people to reach a more profound state of ketosis.
When you first start, the amount of ketones you produce feels like a rush, but over time, your body becomes better at using ketone bodies.
As you go about your keto journey, learning how to use more ketones will keep you feeling optimized and like your best self.
Are you ready to get started? Great, let’s go!
Step 1 - Exogenous Ketones
Exogenous ketones sometimes get a bad rep online, and we think it’s because these are mostly unknown and super new. Scientists have been working hard over the past two decades to understand these incredible ketone bodies.
Now, exogenous ketones (these are ketones made outside of the body) are considered the fourth macronutrient, making them as valuable as fat, protein, and even carbs.
Your body will love you for adding these into your diet; it’s like unlocking the mystery piece of the puzzle.
Exogenous ketones are a super powerful fuel source that will help your body to metabolize fats; and unlike carbs, your body won’t store these in your hips or belly, or anywhere else. They’ll just be used as needed or discarded.
How they will be used though, is up to you. We love to put these in our morning smoothie for a kickstart, or in our coffee. You can take exogenous ketones with MCT oil for a double shot of energy.
You can also take exogenous ketones later in the day when you don’t want to drink a coffee or have a crash.
This is because the energy you get from exogenous ketones is super smooth and natural, and will ease in and out; no crashes or spikes here.
Step 2 - Timed Eating
This is one of our favorite hacks on how to get into ketosis. The science strongly backs the idea that when we eat is more important in many cases than what we eat.
When you eat the same foods during a shorter window of time, scientists discovered the body naturally loses fat and gains lean muscle.
When you eat over a longer time window, the body stores fat and is unable to make as much lean muscle. It decreases.
That means, if all you do is eat during a narrower window each day, you can get into ketosis faster.
Many people are shocked to learn that they usually eat for up to 18 hours a day; if you start breakfast at 5 am and are raiding the fridge at 10 pm, that’s a long day.
Instead, start by reducing your eating window by eating breakfast later or snacking earlier. In keto, you are encouraged to eat the same number of calories during this time but will still be burning fat in ketosis.
We believe that after a few days of eating in a shorter time-frame you will feel the results for yourself.
Just don’t push yourself into a window that doesn’t feel great. Ketosis is all about reducing stress and optimizing your health; it’s not a competition.
Step 3 - Eat More Fat
Yes, you heard us right! Many people look at ketosis as this detox plan where they have to give up foods and fast a lot. While there are indeed health benefits to fasting, it’s just not needed to get into ketosis.
We think eating more gluttonous foods and rewarding your body with the healthy nutrient-rich fats is the ideal way to encourage it to go into ketosis.
When in ketosis, your metabolism is changing; that’s a huge task. Do yourself a favor and give it the food and fuel it needs to make this change.
Adding more calories per day and eating to satisfy your growing (and temporary) hunger will reduce the impact of stress and tell your body this is a good thing.
Your body is strongly wired to respond to treats. So the more keto cheesecake you eat, the more likely you are to go into ketosis.
It sounds crazy, but it’s true. Your body thinks its starving while it’s learning to look for fats, so cut it some slack.
The more fat you eat, the less stressed out and starving your body will feel; it will find the fats you are eating and get the signals to seek out stored fat.
This is why you’ll feel less hungry; you get the message that you have eaten, and it goes off to find the stored fat.
If only they taught ketosis in school, we wouldn’t all be so confused about how our bodies work!
6 Steps to Get into Ketosis
The benefits of ketosis are well documented. It’s an exciting prospect for those seeking a food-based solution to reduce inflammation and improve metabolic function to facilitate weight management.
The challenge for some is acquiring knowledge about how to successfully get into ketosis—a step-by-step, proven action plan.
With a solid meal plan, quality supplements, and a mindset shift, ketosis is entirely achievable!
You may already know the basics of getting into ketosis: a drastic reduction in carbohydrate consumption (5% or less of overall calories consumed), moderate consumption of protein (about 10%), and eating high-quality sources of fat as the centerpiece of your diet (85%). Now we'll unpack some more detailed steps to set you up for success.
A substantial level of knowledge about the dietary framework of keto is essential, but more information related to the process of getting into ketosis will provide the additional guidance needed to ease into ketosis.
The following is a set of actionable steps to get into ketosis safely and quickly, so you can begin to reap the benefits:
Step 1 - Minimize Your Carb Consumption
The good news: bacon and butter are virtually allowed without limit on the ketogenic diet.
The trade-off, drastically limiting carb consumption to get into ketosis is a must.
Keep in mind, most living a ketogenic lifestyle restrict their daily carb macros to less than 50 overall carbs and 20 net carbs.
The body inherently seeks an alternative fuel source once carbs are drastically reduced—fat. It's for this reason that it's helpful to avoid fruit altogether in the beginning.
Also, limit vegetables to low-glycemic vegetables like kale and spinach when getting started on keto to facilitate the fat-adaptation process.
When starting on keto, focus on getting in quality fats.
Don't get me wrong, vegetables and low-glycemic fruits have their place on the ketogenic diet, but the shock to the body generated by removing products from the menu during the first week is a great way to jumpstart your journey to ketosis.
Step 2 - Add MCTs to Your Keto Diet
MCT oil is a secret weapon of many on keto and a nutritional treasure trove.
In addition to acting as a complex source of quality fat to help hit your daily macros, it is also very bioavailable as the liver can absorb the oil directly and quickly use it as energy to support heightened brain function!
Also, since MCT oil acts as energy, the body does not need to hold onto other fat in the body simultaneously, which promotes a healthy weight and prevents the body from storing fat in surplus (a.k.a. overweight).
Coconut oil is an excellent source of fat and nutrients, but it pales in comparison to MCT oil. In essence coconut oil and MCT oil are very similar.
However, MCT oil is brimming with medium chain fatty acids which supports increased ketone body production to further assist in attaining and maintaining ketosis.
In addition to its abundance of increased triglycerides, MCT oil also helps to control glucose levels in the body which can prevent the release of the stress hormone cortisol—a bonafide enemy of fat loss.
Step 3 - Increase Healthy Fats
Even though the Western diet has demonized fat for years, it’s our ally. Fat helps to satiate hunger, keeps us fuller longer, and act as a source of nourishment to the body and brain.
However, keto is not a license to eat detrimental forms of fat like trans fat or long-chain fats (e.g., shortening, partially-hydrogenated oils, etc.) and grasping this concept requires a mindset shift.
As much as we enjoy delicious food, food is a source of fuel and nourishment more than the centerpiece of social events—or a crutch to evoke feelings of comfort.
Think of your body like a premium car: a spectrum of gas is suitable to operate it on a fundamental level, but there are varying levels of quality present in different grades of oil that will determine the quality of the performance of the vehicle it powers.
Your body is top-shelf, so feed it the good stuff!
Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon are ideal on keto, as is low-glycemic and fatty fruit like avocado.
Also, hemp hearts, flaxseeds, and chia seeds are great low-glycemic sources of fat, fiber, protein, and minerals that support a balanced state of ketosis.
Another affordable and accessible form of healthy fat is the egg. Eggs are a primary source of fat and protein on keto, and they also offer a host of vital nutrients like vitamin D.
When adding eggs into a keto diet, or any healthy diet, it’s advisable to choose pasture-raised eggs as farmers treat the animals humanely and tend to pride themselves on raising chickens organically—without chemicals, hormones, or antibiotics.
Step 4 - Try a Short Fast or a Fat Fast
The ketogenic diet may appear to be a never-ending fat fast in and of itself, but intermittent fasting and fat fasting are more of a subset of the ketogenic diet used for many reasons, most notably to breakthrough weight-loss plateaus for those who are fat-adapted but experiencing a fat-loss stall for two or more weeks.
The body is essentially binary in that it is either in a state of feeding, during times when we consume food, or a state of fasting, a set time when we abstain from food.
Both states play a vital role in ketosis, fat-burning, fat loss and even harnessing a state of enhanced mental clarity.
Strategically choosing when to feed and when to fast are essential to achieving body fat loss and other benefits associated with ketosis.
Short Fast vs. Fat Fast
There are levels to intermittent fasting (IF), and it’s wise to start slowly and build up to extended periods of turning down your plate to maintain your sanity, as well as that of your loved ones and peers.
Some people choose to restrict their hours of eating to a window of a few hours during the day (e.g., eating from say noon to 6 p.m. and fasting until noon the following day).
Others forgo food for a day or days at a time—you will find your comfort level through a bit of experimentation.
Once more seasoned and comfortable with short fasts, it may be time to experiment with extended periods where you refrain from eating food during a day or several days.
Listen to your body and see how you feel when fasting to determine whether IF is right for you—intermittent fasting has many health benefits but may be an unrealistic fit for you depending on where you are along your keto journey, so listen to your body.
Unlike intermittent fasting where you don’t eat for periods of time. A fat fast requires eating, specifically eating a higher macro composition of fats.
By its nature, keto is already a dietary model primarily dependent on the consumption of fats as compared to other macronutrients, but on a fat fast, it is encouraged to raise our fat-intake ceiling even higher.
Some fat fast by eating 5-6 small, fat-dominant, meals throughout the day and others opt to eat fewer but equally fatty meals during the day.
The focus on a fat fast is to increase fat intake to 80-90% of your daily macros while keeping overall daily caloric intake low, between 1,000-1,200 calories a day.
A fat fast is an excellent way to “reset” the metabolism to power through a weight loss stall.
The combination of further increasing healthy fats, maintaining moderate protein and restricting carbs can jolt a complacent metabolism and shift the body back into fat-burning mode.
Whether to crush a weight-loss plateau or to get back into ketosis quickly after a cheat meal or cheat day, a fat fast can be just the thing you need to course-correct along your keto journey.
Just a word of advice, limit your fat fast to 3-5 days to achieve the benefits of a metabolic reset while side-stepping the adverse long-term effects, like shifting the body into starvation mode, an unfortunate result of eating in this style for an extended period (e.g., muscle loss, nutrient deficiencies, etc.).
Step 5 - Maintain Moderate Protein
It may be surprising to hear because it isn’t often something discussed in mainstream health circles, but the body converts excess protein in the body to glucose (sugar), too! I know, who knew, right?
The body can only consume and utilize a certain amount of food at a time, and if we exceed our body’s energy (caloric) needs and enter a surplus, the body will store those excess elements—be it glucose or fat—which contribute to glucose intolerance and overweight.
So, if excess protein increases glucose in the bloodstream, it can impact ketosis.
Keep a close eye on your protein macros, especially if you find yourself experiencing difficulty releasing fat on keto, when nothing else like eating too many carbs is the issue, to avoid glucose spikes that wreak havoc on the body and kick you out of ketosis.
Step 6 - Exercise More to Stimulate Ketone Production
In addition to supplementing with exogenous ketones in the form of Beta-Hydroxybutyrate
(BHB), keto salts, or MCT oils: intensifying your exercise regimen can play a part in boosting the body’s ketones to support a steady state of ketosis.
Exercise depletes the body’s glycogen (glucose) stores and forces the body to seek an additional source of energy. In the absence of glucose for fuel, and if eating adequate amounts of fat and protein to prevent muscle breakdown, exercise can safely accelerate the process of getting into ketosis.
Whether high-impact-intensity exercise (HIIT) at the gym or walking brisk trails to work up a sweat, exercise can tip the scale in your favor as it relates to ketosis.
5 Day Plan - How to Get into Ketosis
The ketogenic diet is many amazing things, but it's crucial to remember that keto is a diuretic.
When we drastically remove carbs from our diet, it causes the body to release more water and electrolytes—which may make you pee a lot—the reason why it’s vital to drink a lot of water and supplement with quality salt, vitamins, and minerals when living a low-carb, high-fat lifestyle.
In addition to a need for the increased consumption of water and nutrients naturally depleted when on keto, the correct amounts of fat and protein a person consumes becomes even more critical to ensure balanced nutrition and to avoid undesirable conditions like ketoacidosis—the body pulling from and breaking down muscle mass in the absence of an adequate fuel source which can lead to damage to ones basal metabolic rate (BMR), among other unwanted outcomes.
Getting into ketosis is a process and generally takes up to two weeks to achieve.
The difficulty experienced when embarking upon the ketogenic lifestyle can range from the keto flu, rife with symptoms of fatigue and brain fog, to joint soreness and headaches, but all signs can be aided by easing into the lifestyle strategically and with the appropriate nutritional support.
Preparation will get you everywhere on keto, so setting yourself up for success begins before day one of your 5-day entrée to the ketogenic diet.
Eat a ketogenic meal on Sunday before you begin as a means of starting the process of acclimating the body to having fewer carbs.
Also, increase your water intake in preparation for the inevitable flushing of water that will occur during the first week on keto.
Although your result will not reflect an increase in ketones as you’d like to see once in ketosis at this premature stage, it is helpful to test your ketone levels via a urine strip or blood-based ketone strip at this time to assess your baseline ketone level for future reference.
If you’re a big breakfast person, today will be different. You will want to fast until early afternoon to further deplete your glycogen stores.
Coupling the ketogenic meal from the previous night with a period of intermittent fasting into the afternoon will inform the body that it needs to access alternative fuel and it should respond in kind by seeking fuel from fat as opposed to glucose.
In addition to depleting your glycogen stores in a fasted state on day one, you will want to engage in three, 10-minute bursts of moderate-to-intense exercise before eating your first meal of the day.
As we mentioned earlier, exercise boosts ketone bodies, and the noted exercise sessions will further deplete glycogen stores, encouraging the body to seek an alternative and viable fuel source—exercising as observed may shorten your transition into ketosis.
For example, say you start your day at 7 a.m., the following is a handy activity schedule outline to keep you on track:
Drink Water (with a pinch of added, quality salt—no iodine added) – Drink as much as you can to stay hydrated. Keep a bottle handy and readily available—this applies throughout the day.
- 7:30 am: Do 10 minutes of moderate/intense cardio
- 10:00 am: Do 10 minutes of moderate/intense cardio
- 12:00 pm: Drink a serving of [Insert Konscious Keto/affiliate link]
- 12:15 pm: Do 10 minutes of moderate/intense cardio
- 2:59 pm: Pee on a test strip, or test via blood-based strip system, (if previously fat-adapted, you might already be in ketosis. If not, don’t worry you're just getting started).
- 3:00 pm: Eat a meal rich in healthy fats, accompanied by dark leafy greens, avocado, and healthy oils. Also, add in a serving of MCT oil to whatever you’re eating for extra quality fat and to stay energized throughout the day.
- Enjoy Keto foods from 3 pm – 8 pm: Eat until you feel satiated but don’t overdo it—macros still matter, so track them to stay in your ideal fat-burning range.
- 8 pm: It’s time for a hydration break! Drink some more water to replenish your system.
Take a serving of a quality magnesium supplement before bed for its calming effects which can help the body and brain relax and support the function of neurotransmitters in the brain to regulate various hormones in the body, like melatonin.
Test your ketones: It’s helpful to compare your first strip result with another at the end of day one to gauge changes in present ketone bodies.
There may not be a significant change; especially if you’re transitioning to keto from a high-carb diet full of processed foods, regardless, the data is valuable to evaluate your body’s reaction to different foods or supplements.
You may experience a bit of an upset stomach or a headache at this point, some noted side effects of the keto flu, and this is common.
Stay hydrated throughout the day, add some non-processed real salt to some warm water and drink it to boost minerals, or sip on some delicious and nutrient-dense bone broth to ensure your electrolytes are within a healthy range.
You made it through the first day of the transition, and the hardest part for most has likely passed.
Here is a useful activity schedule to guide you through day two on keto:
- Test ketones upon waking to evaluate the level of ketone bodies present
- Drink Water: keep a bottle at the ready and sip it throughout the day
- 12:00 pm: Drink a serving of Konscious Keto Activate
- 12:15 pm: Do 10 minutes of moderate/intense cardio
- 12:59 pm: Test and document ketone levels
- 1:00 pm: Lunch Time! Eat a meal rich with dark leafy greens and a fatty fish abundant in omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon.
Check out our keto recipes for ideas on what to eat. Also, again add in a serving of MCT oil to whatever you’re eating.
- You may eat Keto foods from 1 pm – 8 pm. Eat intuitively until full but not stuffed, and track your macros (don’t over do it).
- 8 pm: It’s water for you! Happy peeing.
- Before you go to bed: take one serving of magnesium to aid in deeper sleep and relaxation to promote cell regeneration overnight.
Also, test your ketone levels; the progress may help keep your head in the game during the transition to nutritional ketosis because physical data that reflects your progress is a great motivator!
Wednesday - Friday:
Repeat the schedule followed on Tuesday (no change). If you’re not in ketosis by Thursday morning, repeat Monday (eating from 3 pm - 8 pm) and doing (3) 10-minute cardio exercises before 3 p.m. to further coax the body toward the metabolic state of ketosis.
There’s no need to take Keto Activate if you’re well into ketosis on Wednesday morning, with ketone levels between 1.5 - 3 mmol/L.
However, I take Keto Activate every day to support a continued state of deep ketosis—just to be safe. Keto salts aren’t known for their fantastic taste, but the benefit is well worth it!
Add the salts to a little water, hold your nose, and down it like a champ, for added ketone support.
If your ketone levels show you have fallen out of Ketosis when you test on Thursday morning, take Keto Activate and follow Monday’s plan to reset your system.
Toward the end of week one you may start to hit a bit of a stride and may find your appetite is considerably suppressed, and you don’t want to eat as much or as often—this is a common and fantastic side effect of ketosis.
However, just as a general guide, feel free to eat from noon-8pm, Tuesday through Friday.
Between intuition and the aid of a handy ketone tester, you will re-learn your authentic appetite, begin to recognize real hunger, and you'll learn which foods to avoid to prevent glucose spikes.
Also, carb and sugar cravings should be less intense or virtually non-existent by day five.
Over time, your body will tell you what it needs. You will intuitively begin to recognize when to eat and when to refrain from food, but eating within a consistent window each day may prove very helpful, especially as you get accustomed to intermittent fasting.
Listen to the way your body feels and the pair that with the data gleaned from ketone test strips to asses your nutritional needs.
A Parting Thought
All that we’ve covered about fat-adaptation makes one thing clear: ketosis offers a plethora of health and weight management benefits.
Although getting into ketosis is a process, and one you want to approach armed with knowledge to achieve ketosis safely and quickly, it's well within reach.
Stick to the jumpstart schedule outlined above and use the tips shared to tilt the proverbial scale in your favor as you transition into nutritional ketosis via the ketogenic diet.
Overall, ketosis should be an enjoyable and life-improving experience. It should be something you look forward to and welcome. Ketosis should not be something you fret over, asking, “How do I get into ketosis?”
You shouldn’t count calories and fret over portion sizes.
It should be natural, and a positive way to check in with yourself.
- Do I feel fantastic today?
- Do I have lots of energy and am excited to kick-start each day?
- Do I have more mental clarity and focus or drive?
If you said yes, then congratulations, you’re in ketosis or will be there very soon. And if you’re not, that’s cool too.
Now you have a 3-step plan that can get you there in a few hours, that you can refer to at any time - that’s a neat accomplishment.
So, give these tips a try and don’t be shy. We want you to tell us how your keto journey is going in our supportive Facebook Group.
Here, you can ask questions to our keto coaches, and see what other recipes and tricks people are using to get into ketosis.